Joy to the (Theatre) World — A New & Great “Pride & Prejudice” Is Born

I haven’t had this much fun in a theatre in years!  Today I saw the world premiere of Paul Gordon’s new musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and I was charmed and delighted all the way through.  It is not just that this is one of my favorite books of all time — I have seen many versions of this book — on stage, on screen and books inspired by  this novel.  Many have been disappointments.  This is one of the very best.  Paul Gordon, a veteran songwriter and writer of musicals,  has found a way to gently update the book and write current songs with completely understandable lyrics (literally, one can understand the words! and also one can understand the concepts and sense in the context of the show).  He uses Jane Austen’s sly wit and matches it with his own.  Even if you know the story it feels fresh, fun and romantic.  It’s a story of loyalty, taking a hard look at oneself and at social mores and figuring out what matters.  It’s a story of family, friends and love; well told.  How can you not revel in that?!?

Dancing at Netherfield photo by Kevin Berne

Dancing at Netherfield
photo by Kevin Berne

The friend I was with called this Pride & Prejudice “Broadway quality” and I do not disagree.   I am not a theatre critic nor do I write reviews, preferring to bring your attention to new works and tell you about the people and process that make new plays and musicals.  I won’t break that record here by getting into any details of the production, but I will tell you that the cast is terrific with gorgeous voices and a wonderful orchestra behind them, and the production values (the set, the costumes, the lighting, etc.) all support the show beautifully.  It is directed to perfection by Artistic Director Robert Kelley and is an absolutely wonderful show.

Mary Mattison as Elizabeth Bennett photo by Kevin Berne

Mary Mattison as Elizabeth Bennett
photo by Kevin Berne

I tell you this even though you may have difficulty getting tickets.  There are only a handful of tickets left to some of the performances.  It runs through January 4, 2020 at the Lucy Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.  Check online for availability.

If you don’t see it now in Palo Alto, I am very confident it will run in other regional theatres throughout the country and will likely make its way to New York.  Theatre this good finds its audience.  It IS this good. I predict awards and a long and happy life for this show and its large worldwide audience.

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1 Comment

  1. Barbara Shapiro
    Dec 16, 2019

    Loved your blog and agree wholeheartedly — surprising to me since I’m usually not a big fan of period pieces… But, P&P is such a good story, and in this world premiere, it’s not only well told, but there’s also delightful music you walk out humming… lots of fun!

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